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16th March, 2018

The Poet Speaks: From Debussy To Pärt

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Event Details

16th March, 2018
13:10 - 14:00
Performance Space
College Building
City, University of London
St John Street

Annie Yim, pianist and founder of cross-arts curators MusicArt London, presents the seventh in their Conceptual Concertseries.

This lunchtime event combines the recorded voices of composers and writers with live piano, juxtaposing poems from two centuries with musical responses to them by Debussy, Ravel, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Philip Glass. Arvo Pärt’s Für Alina will be performed alongside a newly commissioned poem by the acclaimed Zaffar Kunial whose collection Us will be published by Faber in Summer 2018, and John Cage’s 4′33″ will be performed in a new version incorporating Ed Baker’s poem A Kind of Silence.

Other writing included ranges from French poetry by Aloysius Bertrand and Charles Baudelaire to a personal love poem by Cage; from Else Lasker-Schüler’s expressionist poem Versöhnung (Reconciliation), which inspired Franz Marc’s woodcut print, to Allen Ginsberg’s anti-war poem Wichita Vortex Sutra. Each pairing of musical composition and poem reveals tributes, friendships, and artistic affinities.


  • Claude Debussy | Charles Baudelaire Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir (from Preludes Book 1)
  • Maurice Ravel | Aloysius Bertrand Scarbo (from Gaspard de la Nuit)
  • John Cage | John Cage Dream
  • John Cage | Ed Baker 4′33″
  • Arvo Pärt | Zaffar Kunial (New Work) Für Alina
  • Cheryl Frances-Hoad | Else Lasker-Schüler Star Falling
  • Philip Glass | Allen Ginsberg Wichita Vortex Sutra

Founded in 2015, MusicArt London | Conceptual Concerts has been creating a series of innovative projects across art forms. With music at the heart of each project, collaborations to date have resulted in the commissioning of new works including piano composition, book art installation, poetry, and dance choreography.

Each Conceptual Concert puts an emphasis on sharing the creative process with audiences, celebrating mutual inspirations between musicians, artists, and art spaces through tailored programmes that reflect the unique artistic context. MusicArt London’s commissions and performances have been featured in Gramophone Magazine, Artnet, and New York Times T Magazine.

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